Steelers & Steeldogs Confirm “Pathway” Project
The Sheffield Windows Centre Sheffield Steelers and the Bradfield Brewery Sheffield Steeldogs are pleased to announce a new partnership between the two clubs.
Steeler’s coach Aaron Fox and Ben Morgan from the Steeldogs, along with their respective management teams have been working together to develop stronger relations between the two clubs. This has led to an agreement which will give younger players the best chance of progression and development by getting the ice time they need.
The deal will see Jordan Griffin and Alex Graham on 2-way contract with the Steeldogs. They will be available to play for the Steeldogs for the majority of the season, unless needed by the Steelers for injury cover.
Jordan Griffin split last season between the Steelers and Sutton Sting, will complete the Steeldogs defence for this season. He is a second year apprentice with the Steelers and represented GB at U18 and U20 levels in the spring.
Alex Graham hit the headlines when he made his senior debut with the Steeldogs in January on his 16th birthday. He made a real impact and his form earned him a GB U18 call-up and an apprenticeship with the Steelers.
In addition, on a week-by-week basis, the Steelers will make other players available to the Steeldogs dependent on the Steelers squad selection. This could see the likes of Cole Shudra or Kieran Brown in a Steeldogs jersey.
Aaron will also be getting involved in the Steeldogs Prospect Trials that begin next week as a chance to see some the talent of the future, working alongside Ben and assistant coach Greg Wood.
Steelers owner Tony Smith said “We are delighted to get this deal over the line with the Steeldogs. We have always wanted to be a part of a pathway where the youngsters playing at iceSheffield could see their way to skating out at the Arena as a Steeler.
“It’s been done before by the likes of Cole Shudra and Liam Kirk but we want to see it happen a lot more often and this collaboration between both clubs will certainly assist the process.
“Now it’s time for the hockey people to take over and do their stuff, I know Aaron and Ben have a good relationship and will communicate constantly.
“I look forward to seeing the Steeldogs attend Steelers games at the Arena this year when their schedule allows. This partnership on and off the ice is good for everyone and we will work hard to ensure it is successful.”
Aaron Fox added “This affiliation gives us an option for our younger guys to develop locally if they aren’t playing consistent minutes with us. This way they are still practicing with us during the week and able to easily transition to the Steeldogs on the weekends.
“Ben and I have had some good chats. We are both on the same page and think this mutually benefits both clubs. I’m looking forward to this partnership and working together”.
Steeldogs coach Ben Morgan sees this as win-win situation; “Aaron has been very clear that he wants to create a pathway for developing young players and he sees the Steeldogs as the perfect club to allow his players to train with the Steelers day in, day out and then play with us to get quality ice time.
“I’m looking forward to working with Jordan and Kieran who I’ve only played against before and it will be great to work with Cole again – it’s been a few years since he was with us, so if we get to work with him it’ll be interesting to see how he has developed.”
“It’s massive even just to have Alex back. We had already been making plans for his development as he had showed he was ready for the step up to the NIHL and I think it will be a really interesting season for Alex in the new National Division.”
Steeldogs co-owner Ali Cree is very pleased at what this joint venture will help deliver;
“Since day one when we took on the ownership of the Steeldogs, it’s been a priority to reconnect with Steelers management and at the other end of the scale Sheffield Academy and neighbouring junior teams, to provide pathways for young talent.
“Our aim is to provide the best hockey pathway within the UK from junior right through to senior, elite hockey and I feel that this is a monumental step to build something to help hockey develop in Sheffield and wider across the UK.
“We hope that players will follow Reece Cochrane’s example and look at relocating to Sheffield. He will be working but there are options to study, like at the UTC Olympic Legacy Park college. They can get their feet wet with us showcasing their talents and growing as hockey players under the eyes of Morgs, Greg and Aaron.”
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